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Mutiny of Hoogstraten
Date 1 September 1602 – 19 May 1605
Location Hoogstraten, Habsburg Netherlands
Cause arrears of pay
Participants soldiers of the Army of Flanders

The Mutiny of Hoogstraten (1 September 1602 – 19 May 1605) was the longest mutiny by soldiers of the Army of Flanders during the Eighty Years' War.[1] A siege then took place where an attempted relief to recapture the town and punish the mutineers by a Spanish relieving force under Frederick Van den Berg ended in defeat at the hands of an Anglo Dutch army under of Maurice of Nassau. After a time of nearly two years the mutineers were able either to join Maurice's army or rejoin the Spanish army after a pardon had been ratified.[2]

Background[]

Prince Maurice of Orange had been actively campaigning against the Spanish armies in the Southern Netherlands and had successfully made sure that Ostend then under siege by the Albert of Austria would be a key distraction while he took the rest of the Spanish garrisons that were still in the Republic.[3] Maurice in his first objective successfully besieged and took Rheinberg in July 1601.[4] Then between July and September 1602 the Spanish held city of Grave was besieged and the captured by a Dutch and English army led by Maurice and Francis Vere respectively.[5]

Mutiny & siege[]

Siege of Hoogstraten
Part of the Eighty Years' War & the Anglo–Spanish War
Hoogstraten1603.jpg
Relief of the mutineers of Hoogstraten by Maurice's army August 1603
Date26 July - 10 August 1603
LocationHoogstraten
(present-day Belgium)
Result Mutineer - allied victory[6]
Belligerents

 Dutch Republic
England England


 Spain (mutineers)
 Spain
Commanders and leaders
Dutch Republic Maurice of Orange Spain Frederick Van den Berg
Strength

14,000


3,000 mutineers
8,000 [7]



After the failure to relieve the Spanish garrison at Grave and its subsequent surrender morale plummeted in the Spanish army some having not been paid in addition to a poor supply of provisions. One such group were 3,000 mutineers, mostly Italians and Spaniards who in anger and frustration took and fortified the little town of Hoogstraten.[8] From this secure position, the elected representatives of the mutineers were able to negotiate both with their own command and with the Dutch government.[7]

Prince Maurice hoped to use the mutineers to his advantage yet at the same understood their frustrations. While moving towards the town Maurice soon sighted an army.[9] This was the 10,000 troops under Frederik van den Bergh who had marched from Ostend collecting reinforcements on the way. including many from Italy hoping to relieve the town and shore ups it defences. The two armies faced off while Maurice looked for a suitable town in which to garrison the mutineers with neither side willing to risk losing the advantage.[9]

On August 3 Maurice moved into Hoogstraten much to the delight of the Spanish mutineers who even feted him during his short visit. Here he finally signed an agreement to protect them until they should be reconciled with Albert.[7] Realising Maurice's large army had the upper hand and with the mutineers staying fully on their side Van den Berg ordered his army to withdraw also fearing that some of his men would even join them.Three days later the Anglo Dutch vanguard caught the rear of Van den Berg’s retreating Spanish army.[6] He was able to ambush some of the force inflicting some loss. The Spanish fled as far as Herenthals but Maurice refused to pursue them.[7]

The mutineers went so far as to create their own state the Republic of Hoogstraten where their uniform was green to distinguish themselves from troops on both sides. Many of the mutineers eventually transferred to Dutch service after they were classed as outlaws by Spanish high command.[10]

When Maurice gave them a cavalry force their threat became bigger and it was only then that the Archduke - powerless decided to ratify a treaty that granted a complete pardon despite the protests of Spain and the council of state.[2]

Aftermath[]

When winter came in 1603 all parties retired to winter quarters and Maurice true to his word gave the mutineers the city of Grave to garrison.[6]

The mutiny had a severe effect on Spanish military operations; the Archduke feared that with the mutiny he was incapable of continuing the siege at Ostend. During the Siege of Sluis he was incapable of mounting any form of significant offensive to counter Maurice in the field.[2]

An important source for the organisation of the mutiny is the autobiography of Charles Alexandre de Croÿ, Marquis d’Havré, who was a hostage of the mutineers for eleven months.

References[]

Bibliography

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